Frequently Asked Questions — Vermont Smoke & Cure

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will your products last?

Each of our products is stamped with a Best Used By date, either directly on the film or on a white sticker. We suggest consuming all Vermont Smoke & Cure® products before the Best Used By date indicated on packaging.

Where do you get the meat from?

We engage in creating demand for better meat snacks with all levels of meat producers. Here in Vermont, we help small producers directly access local markets by turning their meats into delicious meat sticks and summer sausages.

Regionally across the northeast, we work directly with small family farms raising their livestock primarily on pasture and selling into the regional wholesale market. Nationally, we only buy “natural” meats — that is, raised without antibiotics or added hormones, and vegetarian fed.

By partnering with our customers to create more demand for these meats, we influence the farmers and the big meat companies to grow and supply meats that are superior for the livestock, farmers and landscape.

Our preferred beef provider is Pineland Farms in Maine, which sources within the northeast primarily. When they don’t have enough for us, additional beef comes from other natural providers in the Midwest like National Beef’s NatureSource® brand.

Pork is from Tyson’s Open Prairie™ brand in South Dakota or Coleman Natural® in Colorado.

Turkey is from preferred providers Plainville Farms®.

I am concerned about allergens. What common allergens are present in your products and facility?

Our entire facility and all of our products are free from the Big 8 Allergens:

  1. Milk
  2. Eggs
  3. Fish
  4. Shellfish
  5. Tree Nuts
  6. Peanuts
  7. Wheat
  8. Soy

Vermont Smoke & Cure® utilizes a controlled system to manage allergens to prevent potential cross-contamination. This allergen control program is part of our food safety system, which is audited annually by a 3rd party certifier for SQF, an approved Global Food Safety Initiative code.

Our allergy control program depends upon segregation of allergen ingredients, products and processes from non-allergen or other allergen containing products, with verified cleaning procedures between lots in equipment and facilities.

Do your products contain Gluten?

No, all of our product are Gluten Free, certified by The Gluten Free Certification Organization.

Do your products contain MSG?

No, none of our products contain MSG.

Do your products contain nitrates?

All of our products have no nitrates or nitrites added, except for nitrates naturally occurring in celery juice powder and sea salt.

What is the difference between cured and uncured?

The “uncured” designation is required by the USDA — but it isn’t entirely accurate. The nitrate sources are celery juice and sea salt rather than sodium nitrite — the same result is reached and the flavor is nearly identical. We agree with those who advocate for calling use of these natural ingredients “naturally cured.”

What is the source of the casing for your products?

All of our Sticks have a collagen casing that is made from the inner layer of beef hide.

The dark outer casing on our Summer Sausage is a collagen casing that is to be removed before consuming, but it will not cause any harm if accidentally ingested.

What is Lactic Acid Starter Culture that is listed on the ingredients for your sticks?

Lactic Acid Starter Culture is a specific strain of bacteria that eats sugar and produces lactic acid, similar to the yeast you put into bread, wine or beer. When crafting our meat sticks and summer sausage, the recipe includes sugar to feed the starter culture. The starter culture consumes the sugar and makes lactic acid (instead of CO2 for bread or alcohol for beer, wine or hard spirits). The lactic acid lowers the pH and so helps naturally preserve the meat sticks or summer sausage and gives them a bit of a tangy flavor. The result also is that the bacteria consume almost all of the sugar, leaving 0-1 grams per stick. The “lactic” name makes it sound like they come from milk, but there is no relation.

Why is sugar on the ingredients list for some products that contain 0g of sugar?

Each of our meat sticks contain 0 to 1 gram of sugar when the production process is complete.

Sugar plays an important role in fermenting our meat sticks and summer sausage, however. During the fermentation process, sugar is consumed by a specific type of culture (bacteria), this bacteria converts the sugar into lactic acid, which lowers the acidity (pH) of the meat stick. To stop the fermentation, we either chill or cook the product. Nutrition fact testing shows that the lactic acid starter culture bacteria consume essentially all of the sugar during this process for our summer sausage, smoked pepperoni and meat sticks.

Combined with cooking, drying, chilling quickly, and vacuum packaging, reducing the pH through the use of sugar and lactic acid starter culture helps naturally preserve our summer sausage and meat sticks.

Are all of your products smoked?

Our Smoked Pepperoni is smoked using a blend of ground corn cobs and maple wood. Our Uncured Bacon pork stick is smoked using hickory wood. We smoke using natural, traditional smoke sources, wood shavings or corn cob bits to generate smoke. A smoke generator sitting next to the smokehouse maintains glowing embers that generate the smoke. A carefully maintained draft then sucks the smoke into the smokehouse.

We never use any liquid smoke or artificial smoke flavor.

Can I pick up my order so I don’t have to pay for shipping?

Unfortunately, unless you are a wholesale customer or distributor you cannot pick up your order. We agreed to stipulations by the Planning & Zoning board of the Town of Hinesburg that we not function as a retail location.

You’ll need to visit one of our retailer customers, or to order shelf stable items from our web site. (Hint — ask your local store to carry us!)

Do you ship internationally?

We only ship within the United States.

Can I come for a tour?

We are not set up for public tours. We do have at least one public open house yearly, though. Please stay tuned to our web site and social media.

I want to sell your products in my store or serve them in my restaurant. How can we make this happen?

We primarily sell through distributors and will be happy to put you in contact with the appropriate distributor.

Is there a phone # I can call to order?

Feel free to give us a call anytime Monday-Friday 8:30am-4:30pm EST at 802-482-4666 and we’d be happy to take your order.

Can you send me coupons?

We cannot mail out coupons, but keep an eye on our social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) — we will announce any available promotions or discounts there.